Apparent Crew Of Copper Thieves Arrested After Botched Chino Hills Theft

CHINO HILLS (CBS) — An apparent crew of copper thieves face burglary and possession of stolen property charges after two of them were allegedly caught trying to steal the wiring from a vacant retail store in Chino Hills, and police believe they may have committed similar crimes elsewhere.

A suspicious person outside a vacant building Monday at 3:30 a.m. eventually led San Bernardino Sheriff’s deputies to another abandoned building that once housed a business called The Great Indoors. Inside, officers found evidence of copper wiring theft, police said.

The investigation brought detectives to the 200 block of Wilart Place in Pomona. When officers arrived, officials say two suspects ran out the rear door and were blocked by a deputy. A third suspect climbed out of a window and led deputies on a foot pursuit for over a mile before he was caught, according to police.

When police searched the home, several thousand pounds of copper wiring, tools, and about five electrical breakers were found, along with narcotics, officials said. Several of the tools were believed to be stolen.

Jonathan Kirkman, 41, and Patricia Lua, 27, of Pomona were arrested in Chino Hills. At the Pomona home, Shawn Pickrall, 33, Daniel Melendez, 32, both of Pomona; Linda Jurado, 34, of Montclair and Maria Notarangeli, 46, of Claremont, were arrested. All  were arrested on suspicion of burglary and possession of stolen property.

Police say Jurado and Notarangeli remain in custody, while Pickrall bailed out the same night. Kirkman, Lua and Melendez were released on their own recognizance.

Anyone with information about any of the suspects can call Chino Hills Police at (909) 364-2000.

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